In 2015, a Toronto lawyer launched a private case management service for family law cases. Why would a litigant in family law consider such a service when there is already a version of case management in the court system?
When parties are involved in court proceedings in Ontario, the process will include access to either a judge or a master at various stages of the proceedings. You will have a case conference, possibly a settlement conference, and you may bring motions for a variety of interim matters such as financial disclosure, or temporary orders for child support, or custody and access. There are significant delays if you are going through the court system and every time you have a hearing, you may be in front of a different judge, so there isn’t necessarily going to be a lot of continuity on the file.
For parties interested in having one person managing the case from the beginning, and on a timeline which is considerably faster than the court can offer, private case management is a possible solution. In the event that your case doesn’t settle, you might still end up going through a trial at court. However, a private case manager can govern the procedural and interim issues leading up to a trial.
Private case management is a form of private arbitration where the parties hire an outside third party (usually a senior lawyer), and they agree that this third party can make binding decisions on how the case will proceed.
Hiring a private arbitrator is an additional cost ontop of regular legal fees. For parties who don’t want delay, and the increased costs that can accompany delay, private case management might be worth considering.